It’s all the family. Ryan Sheridan said he based his sporting ethic on his uncle, legendary Victoria rower Derek Porter, who won gold in the Canadian eight at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and silver in the single sculls at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
It rubbed off as Sheridan was selected fifth overall Saturday in the first round of the pro National Lacrosse League draft.
“My uncle won two Olympic medals with hard work and dedication, and I always looked up to that.”
Sheridan can say the same about his own drive, coming out of the Claremont Secondary Spartans lacrosse program to play NCAA Division 1 for Hofstra University on Long Island, New York, and for the Nanaimo Junior Timbermen and in the Western Lacrosse Association for the Senior A Timbermen.
Sheridan will be going in the NLL to the Panther City franchise in Fort Worth, Texas.
“You work your whole life for this. I’ve waited for this since I was a little kid. There were a few nerves watching the draft. I can’t wait to get to training camp,” said Sheridan, who graduated from Hofstra with a degree in business management.
Sheridan recorded 17 goals and 20 points in 13 games this season in the WLA with the Timbermen. The imposing six-foot-four, 205-pound forward is being measured by his upside, which was reflected in his rookie season with the Nanaimo Junior Timbermen in 2019 when he scored 47 goals and notched 99 points.
“There have been a few injuries the past few seasons, but I’m big, fast and aggressive on offence,” he said.
The home province Vancouver Warriors selected at No. 4 but opted for Payton Cormier from Virginia.
“Whoever wants me, I want them,” said Sheridan, who played minor lacrosse for Saanich.
“I was just happy to have my name called.”
Sheridan was a dual lacrosse and basketball star in school, leading the Island in rebounding in hoops, and was named Claremont male athlete of the year for 2019.
“Ryan has size, skill, intensity and willpower and is going to have a great pro lacrosse career,” said Darren Reisig, who coached Sheridan at Claremont.
“He is athletic, works hard and plays with a bit of an edge.”
Going first overall, out of the NCAA Div. 1 Duke University Blue Devils, was Dyson Williams to the Albany FireWolves.
Defender Bennett Smith, the Edmonton native who made an outstanding rookie debut this season in the WLA with the Victoria Shamrocks, was selected 11th overall in the first round by the Calgary Roughnecks.
“The Roughnecks have themselves an absolute beauty of a player and person,” said Shamrocks GM Chris Welch.
“Bennett Smith is a cornerstone player who we are building our [Shamrocks] team around. He is a big part of our future.
“He is the total package, a multi-faceted player who can play in all situations. Bennett won the Shamrocks best defensive player award as a rookie and that is hard to do, and says something.”
The NLL pre-season begins in November with the regular season running December through June. Average salary in the NLL is about $20,000 US per season and players also have regular jobs. Sheridan works in home care with seniors and Smith is in financial services.